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How is this statement true? "A consciousness conscious of nothing but itself is a contradiction in terms: before it could identify itself as consciousness, it had to be conscious of something."

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5 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

Yes, and the delineation between a chemical reaction vs. free will is clear. But perception is a reaction, a subspecies of that concept. Now is perception "being conscious"?

The maintenance of the "stuff" inside, that you bring up is "life" isn't it? And it is not consciously done in the case of a simple life form. But it is done and attributed to the entity. Hence the idea of volitional vs non-volitional consciousness. So it lives non-volitionally.

The delineation could have be done in the area of rights but it won't work. Should a bacteria have rights. At what point does an organism require rights. One could say it does not have the proper consciousness for it to be appropriate. But then, is a child conscious. Or one could say, it is not conscious in the sense that it has free will etc. Or simply … it is not conscious.

But "the primacy of consciousness" is not about any of this. It's simply that you can't be conscious of "nothing". You will always be aware of something. And if you are aware of something that is aware, it is aware of something.

My comment wasn’t in line with setting up or even exploring a delineation between types or kinds of consciousness. It was just an observation on DO’s formulation. And what I took as his view of ‘our’ understanding of consciousness as phenomenon.

I’ve seen lately a lot of discussion among astrobiologists and other extraterrestrial life searchers about how to ‘better’ define “life” in order to be able to better recognize what forms might be ‘out there’. And there seems to be a way to view those explorations of new or more comprehensive definitions , as converging on the ability to perceive and an example of perception being the ability , in some fashion, of recognizing and manipulating information , eg cells ‘knowing’ what chemicals ‘belong’ ‘in them’ and in what proportions.

In Randian terms “primacy of consciousness” is a non starter not because there is no ability to be aware of ‘nothing’. 

The primacy of existence means there exists no such ‘thing’ as ‘nothing’ so the nonability perceive it isn’t a thing , there is no relationship in the universe with nonexistence.

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On 1/7/2023 at 3:38 PM, tadmjones said:

In Randian terms “primacy of consciousness” is a non starter not because there is no ability to be aware of ‘nothing’. 

I would agree, but this has to be said in a different way. After all, we do use the word "nothing". We are talking about the concept "nothing". So one could say you are aware of nothingness, although you are not perceptually aware of it. So awareness has nuances that have to be communicated.

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